Rich aromatics of graham cracker and cocoa lead to an impeccably balanced cup offering a pleasantly creamy mouthfeel and sweet flavors of dried banana, milk chocolate, and a subtle cooked berry quality on the aftertaste.
A group of nine small holder farmers from on and around the Las Palomas mountain peak in Huehuetenango, Guatemala produced this exciting coffee that showcases how processing can positively impact cup profile to make a more fruited and complex coffee, while still remaining perfectly clean.
Huehuetenango is arguably the most famous Guatemalan coffee producing region amongst specialty coffee roasters and consumers, and for good reason: the coffees produced in this part of the country can be incredibly expressive, dynamic, and complex. Over the past few years two coffees from Huehuetenango have consistently appealed to our green buying team: San Jacinto and Las Palomas.
A perennial risk, and something that has given us pause with these coffees in the past is their processing. For every five samples we would taste of these particular coffees, perhaps only two would be truly clean. The other three would push the line too far for us in terms of flavors that are clearly attributable to over-fermentation. But while some of the lots produced by these communities exhibit too many fermenty, overly “winey” flavors, it is exactly this “pushing the envelope” approach to fermentation that makes clean lots from this region so interesting: they push close to that line, but stay squarely on the clean side, not entering into over-fermented, acetic (think apple cider vinegar) territory. The results can be incredibly complex and unique.
Las Palomas is one of the many mountain peaks around the San Pedro Necta area. The coffees making up this blend come from the collective production of nine small producers located in and around Las Palomas. The coffee is handpicked and sorted by family members before being de-pulped, fermented, washed, and patio dried at each of the small holders’ own facilities. The coffees are then taken to Bella Vista dry mill in Antigua, where they are blended together and milled for export.
Bella Vista first sourced these coffees with the help of Byron Benavente (a long-time Bella Vista colleague), who helps Luis Pedro and his team purchase coffees from this area of Huehuetenango. Byron’s primary contact in the area is Marcos Domingo who leads the Las Palomas group. Through Byron, the families of Las Palomas have received assistance in improving their agricultural management and processing at their wet mill using Bella Vista-inspired methods.